Conversations with Susan.4

Angel Face Rose

Angel Face Rose

26 May, 2016 (Susan):

Hi,

The rose is such a pretty colour & full of new buds, looks like it will be covered in blooms soon.

My function is deteriorating, some difficulty talking, tripping over words, some stuttering. Getting some laughs out of that currently.

Mild nausea, blurred vision, breathlessness, dizziness, fatigue, tremors. Had lots of lovely visitors, 16x peeps over past 6 days. Stopping visitors except family & extended family now as most others have had opportunity to come whilst I could still talk to them.

Poems were sent last Sat. Mail is lot slower than it used to be so probably arrived to destination midway through this week. Hoping there is some merit to them. If not I will ask someone to bind them into a soft cover for family & friends.

In light & love,

Susan x x

An Angel Without Wings

An Angel Without Wings, Susan Mac Gregor, May 2016

28 May, 2016 (Dave):

Hi Susan, thank you for sharing with me how you are doing. I was thinking about the roses, how each one is so beautiful and bursts into the world, bringing sweet fragrance and beauty (these Angel Face roses have a nice scent). And then the flower gradually fades, loses a few petals and then passes away, yet in each individual flower’s passing, new space is created for the other buds that are overflowing with desire to burst forth into the world, giving of themselves and becoming themselves.

Even once the flower blossom is gone, though, then the not so beautiful work begins of transforming dead flower into seed – for the rose, it turns into a bright red rose hip berry and becomes beautiful again, until once again, at its ripest, falls from the plant and begins to decay, which allows the seeds of new life to sprout and take root. It seems so beautiful with plants, with people it is a bit harder to stretch the metaphor…

When you say you sent the poems, whom did you send them too? Was it to XLIBRIS?

I have a batch that you sent me some time ago electronically. At first you said you didn’t want them posted as they were copyrighted and you were looking to publish, later, you said that I should post some of them on the blog. I haven’t put any up yet. I’ll do a blog now and put maybe a poem, an update from you and a picture.

Here are some pictures of my little shrine on my desk where I write. I probably have a solid day or two left of editing the manuscript.

Here are the plans for my future books:

Becoming Your Own Medicine, with Joseph Rael (Beautiful Painted Arrow)

Art Medicine, with Joseph Rael

Healing Circles of the World, with Joseph Rael

Return: The Hero’s Journey Home after War and Other Life Events

Re-spiritualizing Medicine

Every Thought Leads to Infinity: The Role of Visions in the Life & Work of Carl G. Jung and Philip K. Dick

That should keep me busy for a while…

 

May God’s Blessings sustain and surround You,

Dave xoxo

 

Earlier email with update for Susan’s bio…

 

15 May, 2016 (Susan)

Dear David,

 

This is a more accurate reflection of my early life.

As a young girl I was identified as being brighter than my peers. My teachers wished to advance me 1yr but my parents, sensibly, declined. However this advantage stood me in good stead later in life, achieving honours passes in all fields of my post school study, both theory & practice. My weak area was maths. My good fortune led to job offers in some instances & to offers of sponsorship into further study. None of which I pursued, instead prioritizing my desire to have a freehold property. As I was single until my late 20’s that meant putting in overtime shifts. When I did marry I made a poor choice, which delayed things somewhat. I then put myself into high debt to buy a house in Auckland that could accommodate taking in my sick parents. I was glad to do that, those years with them being very special, though stressfull. After they passed away I began to experience a series of illnesses requiring surgeries then was diagnosed with the cancer. Prior to my parent’s deaths I met Mahmoud. We have known each other 13yrs. Throughout that time he has helped me & my parents. The home in Papamoa Beach Tauranga is slowly being paid off as it is rented out.

Motuotau Island, Tauranga, 2013 Jan.March

Motuotau Island, Tauranga, New Zealand

 

Though my childhood home was full of love, music, laughter & creativity, my parents were poor. We could stay at Tauranga Bay Motor Camp free of charge because mum had divined their water supply. Access to bush, beaches, nature was close by. But sometimes my parents had no money for food except bread & milk. There were no WINZ benefits then & though Social Welfare paid a clothing allowance for my 4x fostered siblings, they didn’t pay any other expenses relating to their care. My clothes & shoes were hand me downs from other families. We did what we could collecting windfall fruit to eat from orchardists who knew the situation. We also collected shellfish from the beaches, & dad built one of N.Z.s first Kontikis to fish with which was a success. However there were days when our tummies were only filled with bread & milk. This occurred between my years of 11yrs to 13yrs, spiralling into my mother’s ill health & lengthy hospitalisation when I was 11yrs. She had uncontrolled hypertension & was having blackouts. Being the eldest daughter I took on her duties, caring for my siblings, doing household washing, ironing, helping Dad with food preparation, bathing younger siblings, & organizing the housework rota. When mum was back home I stayed off school often, as she was anxious to be left on her own. Eventually my father secured work as a Carpenter at Kingseat Hospital, Sth Auckland, which job came with a small house. Due to the size of the house & mums ongoing poor health they decided to move only with their two natural children, my brother & I. Amongst others, I was heartbroken by that decision. Mum soon found work too at the Hospital, as a Domestic Supervisor. The move did mean my parents were able to get out of debt.  Plus they were able to feed & clothe my brother & me. Thus life improved despite the continued sadness re my fostered brothers & sisters.

The rest of the previous bio still applies, only I had glossed over the financial situation, & omitted a key aspect of my fortunate genetic inheritance.

2013 Jan.March, Kopacz 132

Mt Maunganui, Tauranga, New Zealand

Good cheer to you,

Susan xx

Tauranga, 2013 Jan.March

Tauranga, New Zealand

 

Conversations With Susan.2: Susan’s Biography

I have been emailing back and forth with my friend, Susan Mac Gregor in New Zealand as she has been going through what she calls her “deathing life” with Stage 4 Glioblastoma Multiforme. We are having some great talks and Susan would like me to share these through this blog. Here is her biography and we’ll be posting some of our discussions in future posts. Susan has also started making digital art and we’ll include some of her artwork in these posts.

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The Centered Heart

The Centered Heart (Susan Mac Gregor)

Biography:

My name is Susan Diane Mac Gregor. I was born in Whangarei, New Zealand, on 25th August 1958. I grew up in Northland enjoying its beautiful beaches, native forests, waterways, & small town lifestyle. When not reading much of my time was spent exploring nature, riding friends horses, rescuing damaged birds or small animals & swimming. There were cats, pidgeons, chooks [chickens], sheep, dogs, canaries as pets, plus my blood brother & four fostered siblings to share time with. Having a musically talented mother & poetically inclined father, who enjoyed limerick & rhyme, meant our household was filled with music, rhyme & laughter. Despite some financial crises for my parents, it was an idyllic childhood.

Qualifications:

Cert Industrial Cookery; R.P.N; PG Dip Gerontological Nursing; PG Cert CBT; Cert N.L.P. & Eriksonian Hypnotherapy; PG Cert.Relationship Guidance; PG Cert Sexual Abuse Counseling; Cert Solution Focussed Therapy; Cert Grief Counseling;  Cert Group Facilitation; Cert Stanford University Facilitator Self Management Of Chronic Conditions Groups. Successfully completed one year from Diploma of Psychotherapy, plus stage one National Certificate in Adult Education.

Alternative Therapy Qualifications:

Diploma Therapeutic Massage; Reiki Level 3; Cert. Therapeutic Drumming; Colour Psychology … being a methodology of using colour & drawing to analyze & address psychological issues; Chaldean & Pythagorean Numerology; American Indian Aura Cleansing;  Hands On & Crystal Energy Healing; Buddhist Sound Healing via Chris James; Home Study of Aromatherapy.

Gifts:

I was born with the gifts of Clairvoyance, Clairaudience, Clairsentience,  Pre-cognisance & Telepathy. These gifts began expressing themselves firstly amongst my direct family, surprising my parents on more than one occasion. As an adult I have practiced for 25yrs as a Clairvoyant, offering guidance to100’s of people throughout the North Island. This service included dream interpretation, energy clearing, & numerology if desired. As an adjunctive I have developed a method whereby it is possible to map a person’s phases & time frames toward achieving changes & goals in their lives. The phases allow the person to consciously make the most of the vibrational energies in each phase. Feedback has confirmed this is a reliable tool for its purpose.

Harley The Rainbow Lorikeet

Harley the Rainbow Lorikeet (Susan Mac Gregor)

More About My Roots:

Family have significantly influenced my character & interests. Mums father Reverend Norman Hyde established an Orphanage during the N.Z. Influenza Epidemic of the early 1900s, & along with mums mother Lillian, brought up thirty three Orphans, plus eight of their own children. Prior to that Norman lived & worked closely with the Tainui Iwi, an indigenous Maori tribe from the Waikato region. Grand-dad spoke fluent Maori, & was fully conversant with Maori protocols & customs. When he died in his 50’s he was given the rare honours of having Maori “wailers” at his funeral, plus a Chiefs cloak was presented to the family from that Iwi. As is customary, the family has since offered the cloak back, the Iwi have not accepted it, thus it & its significance remain in the family.

Respect for New Zealand’s indigenous peoples & customs was passed onto me through my mother. Mums mother was a gifted pianist, being asked in her early teens to go to Germany to further a musical career. Grandma’s parents didn’t permit this however. Prior to marriage Lillian established her own music school, teaching piano & singing. Her talent passed to my mum, who could play any instrument she was handed, & sang on radio in her early adulthood. Our household was always filled with music, with many nights sat around the piano singing Redemption Hymns, or listening to mum play from the great classics, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Bach, Beethoven, Mendelssohn etc. Though never having her ability I took lessons in piano, & continued to play into adulthood.

My father, born to the son of a Scottish Immigrant from Loch Carron, bought another form of creativity into our household. Dad had a love of words, particularly in rhyme & limerick. In early adulthood he published his poems in the local News Paper. His work as a carpenter also a creative occupation. His father was a lay preacher in Churches throughout the Tauranga District. Thus we have the foundations for my love of music, rhyme, respect & interest in different cultures, nature, the humanities, & Christian faith.

Faith:

Despite our Christian underpinnings, Christianity was never forced upon us as children. My parents wished us to choose rather than be forced to accept Christ, leaving the door open for enquiry & spiritual exploration. Not withstanding that, prayer was a given in our household & my parents lives were distinctly lived from Christian principles.

In addition, my mother had the unusual gift of being a “diviner” i.e. someone who could find underground water merely by walking around with her hands held out to sense it. She would sometimes demonstrate this gift for others using a forked willow stick, which would violently twist in her hands when over water. She became well known in Northland for this gift, having divined the first steam bore at the Ngapha Steam Plant near Kaikohe, plus the water supply at a privately owned Camp Ground on the East Coast of Hohoura Harbour, called Tauranga Bay. Not to mention many farmers water supplies, etc. She was capable of identifying how deep in the earth they needed to bore, which way the water flowed, if it was salt, brackish or fresh & could, by the same means, divine  for minerals such as gold. This left the way open for enquiry as to things unseen, though felt or known.

My picture 89d72c16-50ba-43fc-b225-2c6126597c93

Susan Mac Gregor

As a young adult I entered training in Psychiatric Nursing, having chosen to diverge from my training at the Auckland Institute of Technology, where I qualified as an Industrial Cook. This led into my Career in Mental Health, & interest in Psychological methodologies. Upon qualifying I further developed my interest in caring for the Elderly, plus Special Interest in working with people with Dementia. Post Graduate study included a Diploma in Gerontology. Next I began developing qualifications & skills in Psychological Therapies. Gradually I moved from working within Private & Public Elder Care into Mental Health Psycho-Social Rehabilitation, including providing CBT counseling. I was working full time as a Therapist in a Psychology Division of a Primary Healthcare Organisation when I was diagnosed with Grade Four Glioblastoma Multiforme, this being my final job.

Spiritual explorations have included initiation into Western Sufism, initiation to The Rosocrucian Order AMORC, a home study course provided by my friend Patricia Sarne Paul in Kabbahlah, exploration of Western Spiritualism, Meditational Dancing in the form of Circle Dancing, Dances Of Universal Peace, & Sufi Zikr, practice of Hatha Yoga in my late teens, then training & practice in Raja Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Mudra Yoga &  Kriya Yoga, the latter following Paramahansa Yogananda’s teachings. There was a short foray into Tibetan Buddhism, via Dhargyey Rinpoche at the Buddhist Centre in Whangarei. Training in Mindfulness Meditation. At times I would “drop” in on Hindu services to join in with the singing of Bhajans, which I always found an uplifting practice. Or through Jewish friends I’d join in Sabbath services at the open Auckland Synagogue, or join in at Anglican or Catholic Services & discussion groups. I gathered books to read surrounding these topics borrowing some & buying others.

Influential writers were M. Scott Peck, Martin Buber, Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, Richard Bach, Carlos Castaneda, Erich von Daniken, works from the Western Mystery Hermetic School,  Sophist Philosophy, The Paulene Gospel, Celestine Prophecy, amongst others.  Having cast the net wide I can say with conviction I decidely favour Christianity, finding truth & mystery in the life of Jesus & his gospel based on love, forgiveness, & grace. Following baptism by the Spirit as an 11yr old I have consolidated my Christian declaration with Baptism by water as an Adult.

Some Favourite Poems:

“Gunga Dinn” (Rudyard Kipling)

“Kubla Khan” (Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

“Jabberwocky” (Lewis Carroll)

“I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud” (William Wordsworth)

“The Walrus & The Carpenter” (Lewis Carroll)

“You Are Old Father William” (Lewis Carroll)

“Ode To A Mouse” (Robert Burns)

All the best to both of you, and wishing you success in your endeavours.

Love from Susan xx

Sky Painter

Sky Painter (Susan Mac Gregor)

A Last Journey in New Zealand: Cape Reinga

I have not posted anything for some time as I have been absorbed in wrapping things up in New Zealand and getting settled in Seattle. I did take a last road trip before I left New Zealand and drove up to Cape Reinga at the northernmost tip of the North Island. This is a sacred place to the Maori who believe that departed souls leave New Zealand from this point (actually climbing down a lone Pohutukawa tree located on a large rock, a tree which has never been seen to bloom).

On my way up, I stopped at the always interesting Café Eutopia in Kawakawa.

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It was a great trip and a fitting end to my time in New Zealand. There was a different feel at Cape Reinga, driving along the spine of the North Island as it gradually comes to an end. The hill where the lighthouse is planted is called Atua Peruperu.

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Here is the pohutukawa (kahika) tree known as Te Aroha (Love). Te Aroha’s roots, on Te Reinga, are the steps used by departing souls into the underworld.

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Reinga is also the meeting point, the confluence, of the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea. It is thus a meeting place of powerful forces. The line between the two bodies of water is actually visible extending out from the land.

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I drove back down Northland and stayed near Mangonui (known for its fish & chips) in a caravan on a property on a farm. The couple who leased it out were very nice and it turned out the man was an American ex-pat. There were so many sounds that night as I went to sleep: the cry of various birds and peacocks in the distance and various farmyard sounds. So much to listen to, such abundance of life. In the morning I awakened to the sound of cows in the pasture right outside my kitchen window. I had a nice breakfast of farm fresh eggs on, an orange off the tree, and coffee…

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The next day I drove out to Karikari peninsula and then made my way back to Auckland. It was a quick trip, but I covered a lot of ground. It was a perfect trip to reflect on the themes of endings and beginnings and my time in New Zealand, as my (living) soul prepared to leave New Zealand after my 1232 days (3 years, 4 months, 13 days) in New Zealand…

Whale and Dolphin Watching in the Hauraki Gulf

We went on a whale and dolphin trip this weekend and it was one of the best yet!

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Whale and Dolphin Watching in the Hauraki Gulf

We saw swarms of sea birds in a feeding frenzy with many dolphins and several Bryde’s Whales.

Whale and Dolphin Watching in the Hauraki Gulf

Whale and Dolphin Watching in the Hauraki Gulf

Whale and Dolphin Watching in the Hauraki Gulf

Whale and Dolphin Watching in the Hauraki Gulf

Later, we ran across a pod of Bottle Nose Dolphins that were very acrobatic.  One gave us a show of several belly flops in front of the boat.

Whale and Dolphin Watching in the Hauraki Gulf

Whale and Dolphin Watching in the Hauraki Gulf

Whale and Dolphin Watching in the Hauraki Gulf

I have to admit, I didn’t take this last photo…I saw the dolphins do the three way jump, three times, but missed the shot. This photo was taken by the photographer on the boat.

A Trip to Karekare

We took a drive out to the West Coast beach, Karekare, this past weekend. It is one of the black sand beaches and it has quite an expanse of sand at low tide.

A Trip to Karekare

We walked along the beach for awhile and then I climbed up the trail toward Cave Rock and was rewarded with a great view of the waterfall across the road.

A Trip to Karekare

A Trip to Karekare
A Trip to Karekare

I took a lot of photos over the past month as we had a visitor and went on a number of trips around Auckland. Hopefully I’ll get those photos edited and post a few soon!

Whale & Dolphin Watching in Auckland

Whale & Dolphin Watching in Auckland

We went on a Whale & Dolphin tour right out of Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour and saw Bryde’s Whales and dolphins on a beautiful day. I always love going on this trip as it provides a natural counter-balance to the urban environment of the city. Just a 4-5 hour round trip out into the harbour from downtown into such a different world!

Whale & Dolphin Watching in Auckland

Whale & Dolphin Watching in Auckland

Whale & Dolphin Watching in Auckland
Whale & Dolphin Watching in Auckland
Whale & Dolphin Watching in Auckland
Whale & Dolphin Watching in Auckland
Whale & Dolphin Watching in Auckland

A Quick Trip to Hahei, Hot Water Beach, and Cathedral Cove

A Quick Trip to Hahei, Hot Water Beach, and Cathedral Cove

We took a quick trip (a little over 24 hours) a couple of weeks ago. We went out to stay at some friends’ Bach (pronounced “batch” like a Bachelor Pad), which is what Kiwi’s call their holiday homes. It was out on Coromandel penninsula. We had a great time and here are a few photos.

A Quick Trip to Hahei, Hot Water Beach, and Cathedral Cove

I just finished a draft of my book, Creating a Holistic Medical Practice, and sent it off to a literary agent. This is the furthest stage I have gotten to in working to get the book published. I have sent off to maybe about 6-8 publishers and agents so far. With this agent, I sent off a proposal, then they requested a few sample chapters, and then they requested the whole book. Great news, only that led to about a month of non-stop writing to try to get the second half of the book in presentable shape. I feel good about it and now it is out of my hands.

A Quick Trip to Hahei, Hot Water Beach, and Cathedral Cove

A Quick Trip to Hahei, Hot Water Beach, and Cathedral Cove

A Quick Trip to Hahei, Hot Water Beach, and Cathedral Cove

The next projects are two presentations in Tasmania this month at a conference. The first is on writer, Philip K. Dick’s views of psychiatry and humanity, and the second is on Vitamin D in US and NZ mental health populations. I’m sure that will be exciting and I’ll definitely post some photos from Tasmania.

A Quick Trip to Hahei, Hot Water Beach, and Cathedral Cove

Work as Clinical Director has been very challenging since I started the job. I am looking forward to getting a break and come back refreshed and ready to go!

A Quick Trip to Hahei, Hot Water Beach, and Cathedral Cove

A Quick Trip to Hahei, Hot Water Beach, and Cathedral Cove

Great Barrier Island

Great Barrier Island
Great Barrier Island

I had some time off recently and did a three island trip over my holiday. I first kayaked to Rangitoto, as previously blogged. Then I took the slow ferry out to Great Barrier Island. It is a 4.5 hour trip on the ferry as it is a big ferry that carries over vehicles and supplies to the island. The island is very remote feeling, although it really isn’t that far from Auckland. It doesn’t have running water or electricity, the houses and bachs (short for “bachleor’s” cabins) have solar and wind power and store water in cisterns. I kept being shocked by the scale. I had read in the tourist guides and they talked about “cities” and “restaurants,” but the truth is, I drove through Tryphena twice before I realized I was actually in it. The restaurants were very informal settings and many of them felt extremely local. Since the island only has 900 year round residents, it is quite a small community.

Great Barrier Island

Great Barrier Island
The roads were treacherous. I definitely wouldn’t advise one to come straight to New Zealand and get on these roads. Even after more than a year of driving on the left side and gradually getting used to things like one lane bridges, these roads were still a shock. Many of the roads were considered one lane roads (with traffic going both ways) and they wound around sheer cliffs and blind hairpin turns. Average speed for me was probably only 20-30 k, so even though the distances were short, the travel times were long.  It took about an hour or more for me to drive from the hot pools to Port Fitzroy. Again, I was shocked, I didn’t see any restaurants, but there were some locals sitting by a picnic table at the side of the road.  here was a lot of bustle around when the ferries arrive and off-load supplies (beer seemed to feature heavily) and these were stacked on the wharf and people would come by and claim their goods.
Great Barrier Island
Great Barrier Island
The place is incredibly beautiful. Some of the beach vistas were gorgeous. There are some decent hill/mountain ranges. I climbed to the top of Hirakimata (Mt. Hobson) and had great views of the island. Windy Canyon was really impressive and that is just a short, but steep, climb up from the road. 
Great Barrier Island
Great Barrier Island
Great Barrier Island
Great Barrier Island

The wildlife is incredible. I was most thrilled about the wild parrots (Kaka) flying about, eating flax flowers, squabbling and chasing each other. From the top of Hirakimata, it sounded like a jungle below as Kaka sqwacked and chased each other. There were a lot of Tui, also, and the island has a large population of Brown Teal, which are endangered elsewhere.

 

  Great Barrier Island

 

Great Barrier Island

Great Barrier Island

Great Barrier Island

I was only out on the island for a few days, but it was incredibly peaceful and rejuvenating!

Great Barrier Island

Great Barrier Island

On the way back we saw numerous whales spouting (I was disappointed to not be able to see anything more than a spout of water, but it was still exciting).  Then we had dolphins that came up to the ferry for awhile. I have noticed that the wind and sun make an incredible difference in being able to get good photographs. There was a lot of sun on the water and so not very good photos. Also, if it is too cloudy, it is hard to see very deeply in the water.  Other times, with the right angle of sun and lack of clouds, I have gotten crystal clear photos of dolphins.

Great Barrier Island

On the way back into Auckland, the skyline and lighting was amazing!  See for yourself.

Great Barrier Island

Kayaking to Rangitoto

Kayaking to Rangitoto

One of the first things I wanted to do when we moved into our flat was to get over to Rangitoto. Every morning I look out at it and feel it beckoning. Well, it took almost a year and a half to get there, but I kayaked over this week!

Kayaking to Rangitoto

The trip over was great, the 6 km. didn’t seem like too much work. Then we hiked up to the summit and that was a nice walk after being in a kayak for about an hour and a half. There is a lot of lava rock and very little soil there and it is very dry. I took a few photos and enjoyed the hike.

Kayaking to Rangitoto

However, I was involved in another helicopter med-evac. One of our party developed breathing problems that continued to fluctuate over time and I talked with the tour guide, a great guy, about that it was safest to not have her kayak back and to get med-evac’ed off the island. This is the second time I have been off on a holiday trip to an island and gotten involved in a med-evac. I am starting to think I either need to do some wilderness medicine course or stop going out to the islands!

Kayaking to Rangitoto

The trip back was really choppy and I was greatful for the skirts we had to cover the opening of the kayak, otherwise, we would have had a lot of water on board!  I also had to swap out mid-way with another kayaker.  Our guide was concerned that two of our party (we were in tandem kayaks with two people per boat) were falling behind in the wind and waves and he wanted to put a stronger paddler in that boat.  He had mentioned we might do this if necessary before setting off, but I couldn’t really imagine how you would swap paddlers in the middle of the water – but here is what we did, we formed a raft of several kayaks with people holding on to the one next to them.  This stabilised the kayaks.  Then one person (me) climbed out of my seat and sat further back on the kayak.  Then the other person climbed over and into my seat, and then I switched over to her seat.  It all went smoothly, but as I was going across, a little more space opened up between the kayaks than I would have really wanted and I was closer to “sitting” in the water than I wanted to be.  The paddle back was gruelling and I felt hung-over the next day from the exertion.  We got a late start and the wind and waves were pretty strong.

Kayaking to Rangitoto

So, I made it to Rangitoto, the crater was smaller than I thought it would be. I got to kayak. I do have to say that I was a little less enthusiastic about running out and buying a kayak after that paddle, though….but we’ll see…